Friday, December 04, 2015

DEAR AMERICA: AN APOLOGY



Dear America,

I want to apologize. On behalf of my brothers and sisters in the Christian Church, I need to say that I’m sorry that we have failed you.

We were sent by our Lord Jesus, to spread the love of God to everyone we meet. We have not done that very well. In fact, many times, we have spread division, hate, guilt and shame instead of love, compassion, mercy, grace, forgiveness, or peace. 

I’m very, very sorry about that.

I hate to admit it, but the violence that your country is drowning in now is partly our fault. Not because we are the one’s doing the violence, but because we have failed in our mission to preemptively transform this nation – and the world – with the irresistible love of Christ who lives within each and every one of us.

Yes, I know that sometimes we are the one’s doing the violence, and sometimes we’re cheering on those who torture, or drop bombs on innocents, but my apology is more specifically for the fact that we have failed to be agents of change in this world the way Jesus intended.

I also know that we have done our fair share of “good” in the world – funding homeless shelters, feeding the poor, caring for the unwed mothers and the orphans. Yes, those things are good, and I’m glad some of us have made that a priority. But none of this good work makes up for our failure to love our enemies and promote peace.

See, instead of focusing all of our attention and time and energy on loving you – our neighbors – we have become endlessly distracted with a vast number of things that have nothing to do with our mission. We’ve tried to manipulate the society using politics. We’ve demonized other religions. We’ve taken sides in political debates. We’ve protected our own self-interests rather than lay down our lives so that the power of Christ might be unleashed.

Simply put, we have not acted very much like Jesus.

I know that an apology doesn’t change that fact. I know that the only thing that really makes any difference is when those of us who claim to follow the Prince of Peace actually begin to love the way He did, and serve others the way He did, and forgive the way He did, and love everyone unconditionally the way He did. 

I know that.

Now, we’re not going to shove it down your throat. We’re not trying to force you to agree with us on any of that. But we do hope that you’ll give us a chance to show you how wonderful Jesus really is, and how powerful His love can be, and how He can turn everyone – even the worst criminal and most violent offender – into the sort of person you’d hope to become yourself one day.

For now, please forgive us for our miserable, embarrassing failure to put the unsearchable riches of Christ on display. This is our crime. This is our sin.

I hope one day we can all make it up to you and that you’ll find it in your heart to pardon us for missing the entire point of what Jesus came and died to set into motion.

Sincerely,

A concerned follower of Jesus



4 comments:

johnallmanuk said...

"... instead of focusing all of our attention and time and energy on loving you – our neighbors – we have become endlessly distracted with a vast number of things that have nothing to do with our mission. We’ve tried to manipulate the society using politics. We’ve demonized other religions. We’ve taken sides in political debates."

It is false teaching to say that the saint's "mission" to focus all of his attention on loving his neighbours. Trying to manipulate society using politics, demonising other religions and taking sides in political debates, are all capable of being expressions of love for our neighbours, and none of these activities are necessarily a distraction from the church's mission, but can easily be essential to that mission.

Ross Rohde said...

@johnallmanuk, you state," Trying to manipulate society using politics, demonising other religions and taking sides in political debates, are all capable of being expressions of love for our neighbours, and none of these activities are necessarily a distraction from the church's mission, but can easily be essential to that mission."

I'd like to point out that it is Jesus' clear teaching and encouragement to do exactly what you call "false teaching." Here are a few examples: Mt. 5:21-22, Mt. 5:38-41, Mt. 5:43-46, Mt. 10:28, Mt. 16:24-25, Mt. 18:3, Mt. 22:40, Mt 25:42-43,45-46, Mk. 7:21-23, Mk. 11:25, Luke 3:11, Lk 3:14, Lk. 6:27-28, Lk 6:27, Lk. 6:46, Lk 10:26-28, John. 8:7, John. 8:7, Jn. 14:21, Jn. 14:22, Jn. 14:27, Jn. 15:20-21, Jn. 16:33, Jn. 17:26, Jn. 18:36.

Would you be so kind as to point out where Jesus calls us to manipulate society using politics, take sides on political debates and demonize other religions as expressions of our mission? I personally can't think of any examples. Please point them out to me using good hermeneutics and not proof texting.

Joe Olachea said...

Great thoughts! And Ross, thanks for taking a few minutes to reorient our friend to the teachings of Jesus. I think so many times we want Jesus to fall on "our side" when the truth is, Jesus was always challenging "our side" to get rid of the idea of "us" and "them". There is just "us". Jesus was constantly subverting all "sides" because he was offering a radically new way to be human and it was centered on love. I look forward to reading more of your posts!

Kevin said...

Care to share some examples of how this is false teaching? Id honeslty like to see it.

Your entire argument hinges on your "can be." While that may be true, the fact is that this has NOT BEEN the motivating factor behind the manipulation of politics and demonization of others. Our interests are entirely self serving, and by self serving. This may not be so bad, but the problem is, self, to our politicians means themselves, their special interests and the corporations that line their pockets with cash.